U.S. Air Force F-22 fighter jets intercepted today two sets of Russian bombers off the coast of Alaska – Today’s intercept appears to be the closest to U.S. territorial limits in recent memory
U.S. Air Force F-22 fighter jets intercepted today two sets of Russian bombers off the coast of Alaska, One of Russian bombers came eight miles from entering U.S. territorial airspace that extends 12 miles from the coastline. The Russian bombers remained in international airspace. This is the second time this year that Russian bombers intercepted off Alaska.
The Alaskan ADIZ is airspace that stretches 200 miles from the coastline and is monitored in the interest of national security.
NORAD at a statement released today, said:
. “North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) F-22 Raptors, supported by KC-135 Stratotankers and E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, completed two intercepts of Russian Bomber formations entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) early this morning,”
“The first formation consisted of two Tu-95 bombers, accompanied by two Su-35 fighter jets and an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft, which came within 20 nautical miles of Alaskan shores,”
“The second formation consisted of two Tu-95 bombers supported by an A-50 and came within 32 nm,” said the statement. “The Russian military aircraft remained in international airspace and at no time did they enter United States sovereign airspace.”
It’s not common for NORAD to provide the distances that Russian planes come to U.S. territory in its press releases, highlighting how these intercepts were noteworthy for how they occurred so close to U.S. airspace. The first group was eight miles from entering US airspace; the second group was 20 miles from entering US airspace.
In a NORAD statement today: General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, said
“Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, NORAD’s remains ready and poised to defend the homelands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,”
“On several occasions, we have intercepted multiple Russian aircraft operating near Alaska and we will continue to do air patrols to protect the approaches to our nations,” he added. “I offer that level of detail to illustrate the point we will continue to execute our homeland defense missions with the same capability and capacity we always bring to the fight. That does not happen by luck. It happens because we taking deliberate – and at times, difficult – measures to ensure we are able to conduct our no-fail missions.”
Cover Photo by NORAD
By Alex Ammohostianos